McFadden hopes to stay in Pittsburgh

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

PITTSBURGH -- This is an unpredictable time of year for players but fourth-year cornerback Bryant McFadden, who is in a contract year, hopes to return next season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McFadden is one of Pittsburgh's biggest pending free agents this offseason. He started eight games at cornerback and is developing into one of the team's top, young defensive backs.

McFadden, 27, said it was his goal to "raise some eyebrows" this year. He recorded 41 tackles and two interceptions in 10 games. McFadden also broke his arm and missed six contests in the regular season but hopes his performance was enough to remain with the NFL's top-rated defense.

"I would love to be back here for the long term," said McFadden, whose agent is Drew Rosenhaus. "But I guess it's up to the decision-makers to make it happen. But I would love it, because this is a great environment."

Among other notable free agents for Pittsburgh this offseason include receiver Nate Washington and offensive tackles Max Starks, Willie Colon and Marvel Smith. The Steelers generally do not negotiate with free agents until after the season.

McFadden knows he can make up for lost time and his early arm injury with a strong postseason performance, which includes Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I'd like to have a strong start, but I want to finish even stronger," McFadden said. "What better opportunity to do so than in this kind of ballgame at this time of year?"